SDN architectures

SDN Startup Trumps Cisco, Juniper

Startup Embrane Inc., which has been developing products for what it calls Layer 4 through 7 software-defined networking (SDN), has landed a deal with hosted services provider Peer 1 Network Inc.

OK, so it's not the same as a big telco contract. Still, Peer 1 picked Embrane over Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc., as Reuters reported when breaking the news Thursday afternoon.

A general manger with Zunicore, Peer 1's cloud hosting service, is quoted there saying his company had shopped around last summer before deciding on Embrane's Heleos product. While the story doesn't specify what Peer 1 is doing with Heleos, the software is intended for spinning up virtual appliances such as firewalls or load balancers.

Why this matters
One of the most closely watched aspects of SDN is its potential to unseat the networking incumbents.

That's often couched in terms of switches and routers getting commoditized, but the Embrane deal shows there are other ways for SDN players to slide into customers' networks.

Service providers don't always disclose their vendor choices, so Embrane's deal isn't a sign that we're about to see a spate of deals announced. And the biggest carriers might still prefer to stick with big vendors.

Still, considering the amount of chatter around SDN's market-shaking potential, the Embrane headline seems like a ray of hope to both startups and more established but non-incumbent vendors.

And for what it's worth, what Peer 1 liked about Embrane was its ability to work with any vendor's hardware.

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— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

dig_deeper 2/16/2013 | 1:16:28 AM
re: SDN Startup Trumps Cisco, Juniper Which load balancer from cisco and juniper does embrane compete with? -ácisco and juniper do not sell load balancers anymore. -áf5, citrix, a10 or riverbed in the title would have been more suitable?
Craig Matsumoto 2/15/2013 | 2:34:34 PM
re: SDN Startup Trumps Cisco, Juniper Don't forget Citrix. Like Embrane, they're focusing on upper layers in SDN. That might be where Embrane's more direct competition comes from.
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